Peru Seizes Nearly 5 Tons of Cocaine
By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo April 09, 2021
Peruvian authorities dealt a new blow to narcotrafficking, seizing 4,940 kilograms of cocaine in different operations carried out February 10-25, 2021.
The Peruvian National Police (PNP) reported on Twitter finding 216 kg of cocaine in Alto Amazonas province on February 25. Five individuals involved with the drug opened fire to escape in the dense jungle, the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio reported on February 28.
In another patrol operation on February 14, the police encountered a group of backpackers who carried some 225 kg of cocaine, which they left behind to flee through the mountains in Satipo province, Junín, the Peruvian Armed Forces Joint Command (CCFFAA, in Spanish) said on Twitter. Authorities also found personal documents, USB flash cards, cell phones, planners with names, and maps, the newspaper Peru 21 published on February 15.
On February 11, the PNP Anti-drug Directorate (Dirandro, in Spanish) reported that it had carried out an operation in Paita Port, where it confiscated 3,082 kg of cocaine bound for Panama. The liquid drug was hidden in palm oil bottles, inside a container belonging to the narcotrafficking ring Los Aceiteros de Paita, the Lima-based newspaper Correo reported. During the operation, authorities detained two Peruvians and two Venezuelans.
Between February 10-12, the police detained four Colombian narcotraffickers and seized a shipment of 900 kg of cocaine in the Amazonian district of Mariscal Castilla, in Loreto. The drug was hidden in two containers with 600 kg of cocaine in brick-type packages, as well as 300 kg of liquid cocaine, the CCFFAA reported.
In addition, on February 10, General Raúl del Castillo Vidal, head of Dirandro, told Radio Programas de Perú about the seizure of more than half a ton of cocaine hydrochloride bound for France from the port of Callado, in a ship that was transporting a container with asparagus.
“When the police went to check the shipment, it had already been loaded. So what we did was to go up and check the container, where we saw that security records had been cloned, so we requested that the container be lowered to the ground […], and we found 517 kg of cocaine,” Gen. Del Castillo said. The ship had stops planned in ports of Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and France.
Europe is increasingly becoming a substitute for the United States as the epicenter of cocaine trafficking, due to the astronomical prices that the substance nets in that continent and the large number of transportation options available to traffickers. On February 26, InSight Crime, an investigation and journalism organization specializing in organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, said that with the increase in cocaine production in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, in addition to the solid transport chains through Venezuela, it could be just a matter of time before cocaine seizures in Europe break their 23-ton record of late february.